Chinese giant pandas arrive at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo

16:05, February 22, 2011      

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Japanese dressed in "giant panda" costumes hold placards reading Xian Nu and Bi Li, the names of a pair of giant pandas from southwest China's Sichuan Province, at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, capital of Japan on Feb. 22, 2011. Giant pandas Xian Nu and Bi Li arrived at their new home in Tokyo's Ueno Zoo late Monday. (Source: Xinhua)

A pair of giant pandas named Xian Nu and Bi Li from southwest China's Sichuan Province arrived at their new home in Tokyo's Ueno Zoo late on Feb. 21.

Female panda Xian Nu and male Bi Li left Chengdu, Sichuan's capital, on board a Sichuan Airlines passenger flight at 7:50 a.m., said a spokesman with the China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in Wolong.

The pandas, accompanied by two keepers from Wolong, stopped in Shanghai before heading to Tokyo's Narita International Airport. They are scheduled to arrive at Ueno Zoo at around 9 p.m., the spokesman said.

The Ueno Zoo was closed on Feb. 21, but a giant panda poster at its entrance caught the attention of many locals. According to the Ueno Zoo, nearly 200 media reporters came to the zoo to interview that night.

Some residents braved the cold weather to come to visit giant panda outside the zoo. Two Japanese youth dressed in "giant panda" costumes hold placards reading Xian Nu and Bi Li at the Ueno Zoo.

The zoo received its first pair of pandas, Lan lan and Kang Kang, from China in 1972. But Bi Li and Xian Nu will be the zoo's first pandas since the Ling Ling died in 2008, 16 years after he arrived from China.

Bi Li and Xian Nu are going to Japan under an agreement between the Tokyo metropolitan government and the China Wildlife Conservation Association signed last July.

The document was a follow-up to a 2008 agreement on joint panda research, which was reached between Chinese President Hu Jintao and former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda during Hu's visit to Japan.

The Ueno Zoo established a research team, which was made up four people. Zoo authorities estimated last week Xian Nu and Bi Li would be on public display in late March if they could easily adapt to the new environment.

By Zhang Qian, People's Daily Online


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